Last Wednesday, Laura Lee ’17, Max Friend ’17 and Sarah Ritzmann ’17 published their first official blog post as the new editors of the NESCAC student blog, In the ’Cac. Under their new leadership positions, the three Ephs are excited to get the site up and running again after its year-long hiatus.
Ever since discovering the blog during her first year at the College, Lee has been interested in the way it brings together and represents the NESCAC community. “I just remember as a [first-year] thinking it was a super cool site,” she said. “It’s really cool having NESCAC pride as well as school pride. The NESCAC is a super great coalition of schools, and I thought it was awesome that there was this online publication devoted to that and the lifestyle that comes along with NESCAC kids. We’re a special group of people.”
She, Friend and Ritzmann noticed that the blog had been inactive for about a year. They got in touch via email with Sam Hine ’15, the website’s last active editor-in-chief, who passed the torch to them.
They’re excited to take advantage of the site’s huge influence. Lee said, “Our Facebook post from [last week] has already reached over 1500 people … I think our In the ’Cac most viewed article had 40,000 views. So it’s really cool to think, wow, we could actually reach a ton of people through this and maybe share some really cool things.”
How are Ritzmann, Friend and Lee going to use this ’Cac-wide influence? For one thing, they see its potential for providing a forum for a unique kind of writing. Friend explained that he likes the site’s candid and down-to-earth nature. His favorite part of In the ’Cac is “that it’s also a medium for us all to kind of take ourselves a little less seriously. We have a chance to provide an accurate commentary on how, at the end of the day, we are all just kind of going to college and learning and that’s awesome, but that doesn’t need to be glorified,” Friend said.
One of their biggest hopes for the site is that it fully encompasses the entire NESCAC. “Just because we’re the ones who are going to be managing the content distribution and making sure that the website is run correctly,” Friend said, “[it] doesn’t mean that it’s just us. Our first step after getting the password for the website was to start finding a network of people around the NESCAC at the other 10 schools who could help be contributing writers, help us to come up with things we want to provide commentary on, help us with really the whole process, because we know about what is going on [at Williams], but we don’t know what’s going on everywhere else.”
The three new leaders hope to include diverse content not only by representing all 11 schools but also by including the perspectives of all kinds of NESCAC students. “We just really want everyone to know that if you go to a NESCAC school you’re a part of this as much as we are,” Ritzmann said. “It’s for everybody. It’s not just a Williams-centric thing, and it’s not just a preppy, elite, liberal-arts-school-centric thing.” Lee elaborated on this, saying that they want to “diversify the image a bit. We’re not all bean-boot-wearing lacrosse players,” and that they want to “show as many different lifestyles across the NESCAC as possible. There are so many cool, amazing people all over the NESCAC, and we really just want to showcase how great everyone is,” Lee said.
In part, they plan to use NESCAC connections to create a diverse network of writers. “We’re aware that if it’s just us and our friends at other NESCAC schools contributing all the content, it’s going to be a limited view,” Friend said. “That’s how we’re going to kind of start to find people, but I have friends at other NESCAC schools who have very diverse spectrums of friends from all across the rest of that school … In that way we’re already starting to branch out a little bit to writers at other schools who we have nothing in common with.”
They also hope writers with heterogeneous perspectives will come to them. “We do have a tab on our page for people who want to write for us, so hopefully as we’re more active maybe we’ll get some applications,” Lee said. “It shows a lot when someone takes the effort to reach out to us. We really want serious, devoted writers … We want strong content that people will enjoy reading.”
In terms of the site’s future, Friend, Ritzmann and Lee hope that it’ll continue after they graduate without any more yearlong breaks. Even though they inherited it from a Williams student, the site could be passed down to anybody. “I guess we’re kind of keeping it in the family for now, but who knows, maybe when we hand it off it could go to a different school; it’s really whoever shows the most interest,” Lee said.
Friend elaborated on this, saying, “There’s at least nine other schools in the NESCAC that could run it just as well as we could,” to which Ritzmann added, “Just not Amherst.”